(Photo by Gina Delrosario)

(Photo by Gina Delrosario)

Living and Growing: Divine Mercy Sunday

Part one of a two-part series

Everything in the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Holy Bible speak of God’s unfathomable love and mercy — His justice is His Mercy.

On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II declared, during the Canonization homily of the Polish nun Saint Faustina Kowalska, that “The Second Sunday of Easter from now on throughout the Church will be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Pope John Paul II called Saint Faustina the “great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.”

Born in Poland on Aug. 25, 1905, Saint Faustina was baptized as Helen Kowalska. On Aug. 1, 1925, she was accepted to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland. On April 30, 1926, she received her habit and her name in religion — Sister Maria Faustina. She came from a poor family and received only three years of education. However, from the early age of seven until her death, St. Faustina received Divine revelations — seeing, hearing, and conversing with our Lord Jesus Christ. In obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Faustina wrote these Divine revelations into notebooks, now known as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. In her diary entry 1142, Jesus said to St. Faustina “My daughter, be diligent in writing down every sentence I tell you concerning My mercy, because this is meant for a great number of souls who will profit from it.”

Between 1931 and 1938, our Lord Jesus gave St. Faustina several requests. On Feb. 22, 1931, when Jesus appeared to her in the convent in Plock, Poland, He directed her to “paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I trust in You (Diary of St. Faustina 47-48) and to have this Image venerated, first in the Sisters’ chapel , and then throughout the world.”

St Faustina wrote in her diary: “When on one occasion my confessor told me to ask the Lord Jesus the meaning of the two rays in the image, I answered, ‘Very well, I will ask the Lord.’ During prayer I heard these words within me: The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the water that makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls…These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when my agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross.” (Diary, 299).

Jesus said to St. Faustina “My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day, all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from my very depths of tenderness. It is my desire that it solemnly be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of my Mercy.” (Diary 699)

On the evening of Friday, Sept 13, 1935, when St. Faustina was in her cell in the convent, she saw an angel in her vision, the executor of divine wrath, to chastise a certain place on Earth. She began to implore the angel to hold off for a few moments, and the world would do penance, but her plea was a mere nothing in the face of the divine anger. Just then she saw the Most Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus’ grace which dwells in her soul. When she became conscious of this grace, she was instantly snatched up before the Throne of God and found herself pleading with God for the world with words she heard interiorly “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us.” (Diary, 475)

As she continued saying this inspired prayer (which is now known as the Divine Mercy Chaplet), the angel became helpless and could not carry out the just punishment which was rightly due for sins (Diary 474). The next day, when St Faustina entered the chapel, she again heard these words interiorly: “Every time you enter the chapel, immediately recite the prayer I taught you yesterday.” When she had said the prayer, in her soul she heard these words “This prayer will serve to appease My wrath. You will recite it for nine days on the beads of the Rosary in the following manner, first you will say one ‘Our Father’ and ‘Hail Mary’ and the ‘I Believe in God.’ Then on the ‘Our Father’ beads you will say the following words: ‘Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.’ On the ‘Hail Mary’ beads you will say the following words “For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.” In conclusion, three times you will recite these words “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world” (Diary 476). From then on, she recited this Chaplet constantly, offering it especially for the dying.

In later revelations, our Lord said to St Faustina “Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you (1541). Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687). When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (1541). Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy (687). I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (687). Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (1731) Our Lord specifically told St. Faustina to say the Chaplet for nine days before the Feast of Mercy, it is to begin on Good Friday. He added: “By this Novena, [of Chaplets] I will grant every possible grace to souls.” (796). The Chaplet can also be prayed anytime and during the “Hour of Great Mercy” at three o’clock each afternoon (recalling the time of Christ’s death on the cross).

Pope John Paul II wrote ”If the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Jn 3:5, 4:14; 7:37-39) “Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ Crucified.” Jesus, King of Mercy, we trust in You.

• Gina Del Rosario is a Roman Catholic who was born and raised in the Philippines, and is a parishioner at Saint Paul’s Catholic Church in Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page

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